Harold Harvey was born on 20 May 1874, in Penzance. He was home schooled as a child and his father was a bank clerk. He studied at the Académie Julian from 1894 until 1896. In 1896, he studied at the Académie Delécluse and the Académie Colarossi. His first exhibition was in 1895, at the Newlyn Art Gallery.
From 1909 to 1913, he was an accociate of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. From the 1910s until the early 1930s, he was a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. Before 1911, Harvey lived in Penzance.
In 1911, Harvey married a fellow artist called Gertrude Bodinnar. They lived together in Newlyn at Maen Cottage. Later on in his life, he converted to Catholicism. His last exhibition was in 1939, in Bristol. He died on 19th May 1941 in Newlyn. His wife continued to live in their house until 1960; she moved into a nursing home and died six years later.